Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I returned from Ghana in the middle of last week and have so many encouraging things to report to you. I was able to meet a lot of new people and see God’s hand at work in a lot of different places. I will try over the next few blogs to tell you about our trip and then share with you some plans we have moving forward for the work in Ghana. As always, if you have questions please ask them under the Contact tab on our website.
Brother Jeff Elliott, Jonathan Elliott and I arrived in Ghana on Tuesday, June 28th to the welcome faces of our good brothers, Dickson Marfo, Samuel Sekyere and a host of others from Mt. Zion. Brother Jeff and Jonathon travelled there from Mombasa, Kenya where they were able to see that good work going on at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, whereas I travelled from Hauser, Oregon after preaching at Hauser Missionary Baptist Church.
When we arrived we had the privilege to meet some Liberian brothers (Cyrus and John) who Brother Michael Wilson was able to get in contact with through Facebook. We enjoyed getting to know them and look forward to possibly working with them in the future. Together, we all stayed in a house prepared by Brother Samuel Sekyere (in Kumasi) and owned by his nephew who presently resides in London, England. We found it more than suitable for our needs and was able to rest on the 29th in preparation for the 1st Deacon and Minister’s Conference in Ghana beginning on Thursday the 30th.
We arrived at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church at 9:00 a.m. on Friday the 29th and were greeted by approximately 35 deacons and ministers who were waiting to begin the conference. The theme of our lessons was the gospel, where we focused primarily on the gospel message, the gospel church, and the gospel minister. On the first day, I began the lessons by giving an introduction to their purpose and the burden I had for the work in Ghana.
For those of you who may not be aware, some of these churches have been in existence for over 15 years and have grown in understanding and number far beyond most of the churches in the U.S. Many churches meet frequently throughout the week for various gatherings which include women’s fellowship, prayer meeting, Sunday school teachers meetings, youth meetings, and leaders meetings. They have demonstrated a firm conviction for the truth and a desire to see it spread throughout the nation of Ghana. They have private schools, jail ministries, and multiple missions coming out of each church throughout their local regions. My burden is to help them become more self-sufficient financially and doctrinally so the churches which have been long established might be more able to send forth missionaries throughout Ghana and West Africa. To do so, we felt it was important that they be as equipped as possible with the knowledge of the truth. What better place to start then with the gospel?
In my first lesson I expressed to them my burden for them to become more self-sufficient and how that begins with a deep understanding of the gospel message. If big churches are built, grand ministries are created, but a weak gospel is being proclaimed, much of the work will be in vain. The second lesson of the day was taught by Brother Jeff Elliott and focused on the Lord’s Church. He discussed the establishment, composition, perpetuity, ordinances, offices and purpose of the Lord’s church. The third lesson was taught by Brother Jonathon Elliott about the ministry of the gospel. He took a text from II Corinthians 4 and emphasized a minister’s responsibility to not faint when the work is difficult, walk honestly, and not handle the Word of God deceitfully. I taught the final lesson of the day where we discussed the beginning of the gospel message. In the lesson I emphasized the need for people to have an accurate perception of God and man. That when one understands properly the nature of God and man it gives the extraordinary value to the person and work of Jesus Christ. We concluded the day at 5 p.m. following an opportunity for the brethren to ask questions about the lessons. We then returned home for some much needed rest.
The second day (Saturday) Brother Jonathon picked up with the gospel message by focusing on the atonement of Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (II Corinthians 5:21).” He taught a beautiful lesson about the great exchange of the gospel, that Christ took our sins and the wrath of God that comes with it, and we took His righteousness and the fellowship one enjoys after being, “…born from above.” Brother Jeff taught next about the work of the ministry. He focused much of his attention on the calling to the ministry and the need for a man of God to follow the leadings God gives to him. I concluded the lessons for day two by teaching about the spiritual and practical work of the office of a deacon. The focus of the lesson dwelt on the need for deacons and pastors to work together for the common good of the church and the glory of God.
On the final day of the conference (Sunday), each of us traveled to a different church or mission before congregating back at Mt. Zion for our concluding lessons. Our lessons were very brief since so many men needed to travel home, but we were able to introduce the Gold Coast Minister’s Curriculum.
Overall, the 1st Deacon and Minister’s Conference was a blessing and it was unanimously agreed that we need to try and have these on at least a yearly basis. Looking ahead, Brother Danny Chandler agreed to travel there in January and the Gold Coast Mission Fund intends to help fund another meeting for the brethren over there. He will hold another conference and one component of it will be the Gold Coast Curriculum they should complete by the time he arrives.
For 20 years these brethren have greatly benefitted from the revivals held by cross-cultural missionaries but they are now hungering for the Word to be taught. The diligent attention, innumerable questions, and 2-3 hour deacons meeting held at the place we stayed, only reinforced the obvious desire they have to learn more so they might be better equipped to spread the gospel. I look forward to writing more about the trip in the next few days and encourage you to continue praying for this work.
Your Fellow Laborer,
Bradley S. Hicks